The U.S. Sales Door Creaks Open For Chinese, Indian CarsS

A recent AutoPacific study of young, affluent 'merican car buyers shows 15% would consider buying a Chinese car and 11% an Indian one. Might sound low, but not really, considering the number is only 16% for Korean cars.

New Study Shows Willingness to Accept Unknown Brands

Tustin, CA (July 28, 2009) - Newly released research shows fifteen percent of new car buyers in the United States say they would consider purchasing their next vehicle from China, and eleven percent would consider buying a car from India, without knowing specific brands or vehicles.This compares with sixteen percent who said they would consider a vehicle from Korea, which has been marketing vehicles in the U.S. since the 1980s.

"As Hyundai and Kia have been on the American scene for decades now, it's surprising that consideration for Chinese and Indian brands, sight unseen, would be about as strong as it is for the Korean brands," said George Peterson, president of automotive research firm AutoPacific and author of the study. "However, with so many premium and high-tech non-automotive products already being made in China and purchased by Americans, why not automobiles too? It appears that buyers in America are willing to give Chinese and Indian vehicles a chance right out of the box. Understanding these consumers will be critically important to the success of any newcomer."

The just-released study - "Opportunity for Chinese and Indian Brands in the USA" - provides new insight into who these consumers are and what they're looking for in their next car or truck. Based on a national survey of more than 30,000 new car and truck buyers, AutoPacific's 2009 Research Suite database reveals insights into the willingness of Americans to consider cars and trucks coming from China and India.

"Not only are a significant number of people willing to consider Chinese and Indian brands, this group consists of highly desirable buyers who would be coveted by any manufacturer. They tend to be young, well-educated, and affluent for their age and have good jobs in administrative, health care and middle management positions," added Peterson.

The study shows Chinese and Indian considerers are more likely to currently own Japanese and Korean brands, indicating that these brands may have the most competition from the new entries, rather than domestic brands like Chrysler, Ford and GM. The study also revealed that while those who would consider a car from China and India rate reliability and durability high, they are not as interested in the dynamics of a vehicle like handling, braking and acceleration.

[AutoPacific via LATimes]